Biden's transition moves ahead

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:02 p.m. ET, November 25, 2020
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11:48 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Biden and Harris will receive first President's Daily Brief on Monday

From CNN’s Sarah Mucha and Alex Marquardt

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive their first Presidential Daily Briefing on Monday, the transition told reporters during a press briefing Wednesday. 

The PDB, as it's known, is prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for the President, vice president and senior advisers. It contains information about pressing national security issues that the new president will soon face. 

"We're working with DNI and the White House on the President-elect and Vice President-elect receiving the PDB. We expect the first briefing to take place on Monday," transition adviser Jen Psaki said.

Biden told reporters Tuesday that the briefing had been offered, but he said that he has not yet had it and will start getting it “on a regular basis.”

ODNI has said the Biden review team will be on site on Monday.

11:01 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Trump's planned trip to Pennsylvania canceled

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Kristen Holmes

President Trump's planned trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, today has been canceled, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The cancelation came after Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani was exposed to a second person who tested positive for coronavirus in just the last week.

Two sources told CNN Tuesday night that Trump was expected to join Giuliani at an event with Pennsylvania Republicans in another attempt to spotlight alleged voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

11:51 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

The White House signed off on Biden getting the President's Daily Brief. Here's why that matters.

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Zachary Cohen

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Three weeks after the election, the White House has given formal approval for President-elect Joe Biden to receive the President's Daily Brief, a White House official told CNN Tuesday.

Coordination on when Biden will receive his first briefing is currently underway, but the move is another step toward a transition of power that President Donald Trump held up for weeks after it was clear he lost the 2020 election.

It follows a formal notice by the General Services Administration Monday night that the formal transition of government can proceed.

Here are key things to know about the briefing:

  • The PDB, as it's known, is prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for the President, vice president and senior advisers.
  • Receiving a classified intelligence briefing is typically one of the first rights of a presidential candidate after winning the election.
  • It contains information about pressing national security issues that the new president will soon face. 

Biden had yet to receive an intelligence briefing because of Trump's effort to overturn the results of the election, which caused confusion inside the federal government over whether a transition could begin.

An ODNI official attributed the change directly to the White House's move to formally grant Biden access to the PDB.CNN previously reported the decision was Trump's and the access to the PDB could have been granted before the GSA administrator made the transition official Monday.

10:35 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Biden is first presidential candidate in US history to win more than 80 million votes

From CNN's Devan Cole

Joe Biden has become the first presidential candidate to win more than 80 million votes, with his record-breaking number of popular votes still likely to increase in the coming days as ballots continue to be counted across the nation.

As of Wednesday morning, Biden had won more than 80,026,000 votes, while President Trump had more than 73,890,000. The President's votes make him the candidate to win the second-highest number of popular votes in American history. Biden's margin of victory over Trump surpassed 6 million votes on Friday.

Biden has won 306 electoral votes, while Trump has 232. At least 270 electoral votes are needed to become president.

Americans voted by mail in record numbers this year to protect themselves from exposure to coronavirus in the middle of a global pandemic, and experts had warned for months that there would be a lengthy vote count that could extend for days following Election Day.

The new record set by Biden reinforces his decisive win over Trump, who has yet to concede the election even as his administration has started the formal presidential transition process after the General Services Administration acknowledged the win on Monday.

9:12 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Face-to-face meetings between White House staff and Biden team will begin "soon," official says

From CNN's Jim Sciutto

A senior administration official told CNN that the National Security Council "is prepared for a thorough transition" and that face-to-face meetings among White House staff will begin "soon" with Joe Biden’s team.

On Monday, the General Services Administration informed Biden that the Trump administration was ready to begin the formal transition process.

The letter from Administrator Emily Murphy  was the first step the administration took to acknowledge President Trump's defeat.

9:41 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Chinese leader Xi Jinping finally congratulates Biden

From CNN's Beijing bureau

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a G20 speech via video on November 22 in Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a G20 speech via video on November 22 in Beijing. Li Xueren/Xinhua/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday sent a congratulatory message to US President-elect Joe Biden, more than two weeks after US media called the race for the Democratic candidate.

"Promoting the healthy and stable development of China-US relations is not only in the fundamental interests of both peoples, but also meets the common expectation of the international community," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying in the message. 

"I hope to see both sides uphold the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and focus on cooperation while managing and controlling disputes," Xi added, according to Xinhua.

On Nov. 13, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, without naming Xi, offered Beijing's congratulations to Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris almost a week after they delivered victory speeches.

But the spokesperson noted at the time that the outcome of the US election would be "ascertained in accordance with US laws and procedures."

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on Wednesday sent a congratulatory message to Harris, according to Xinhua.

The Kremlin meanwhile said on Monday it will accept the results of the US election as official only after all lawsuits are completed and President Trump concedes. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he was ready to work with any US leader and would congratulate whoever is declared the winner after all legal issues surrounding the election have been settled, according to Russian state news agency, TASS. 

9:03 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Trump expected to join Giuliani today in Pennsylvania at GOP lawmakers' voter fraud event 

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

President Donald Trump speaks to the press at the White House on November 24.
President Donald Trump speaks to the press at the White House on November 24. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump has no public events on his White House schedule today, but is expected to join his attorney Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where Republican state lawmakers are holding a "hearing" on allegations of fraud in this month's election, two sources familiar with the plans told CNN.

Trump expressed strong interest in joining Giuliani for the trip and directed aides to make plans for him to travel to Pennsylvania, multiple sources said.

The trip, which would be his first outside of the Washington area since Election Day, was not listed on the public schedule released by the White House on Tuesday night, but is being handled internally as an unannounced movement.

The event is the latest attempt by Trump and his allies to undermine confidence in the 2020 election and attack the legitimacy of Joe Biden's election as president.

The Trump campaign and Pennsylvania Senate Republicans announced plans for the Gettysburg event, a meeting of the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee, on Tuesday — casting it as an effort to expose "irregularities" in the 2020 election.

The meeting is being organized by the Pennsylvania state Senate GOP, which is holding it at a hotel — not at the state Capitol.

State and local election officials have said there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and both a federal court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court have dismissed lawsuits seeking to prevent the state from certifying the results of the election.

Remember: Pennsylvania officially certified its results on Tuesday, sealing Biden's win in the key battleground state and officially awarding the state’s 20 electoral votes to the President-elect. 

8:40 a.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Fauci confirms he's been talking to President-elect Biden's staff

From CNN's Naomi Thomas and and Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a news conference at the White House on November 19.
Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a news conference at the White House on November 19. Susan Walsh/AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he has not been in touch with President-elect Joe Biden personally, but he has been talking to a member of his staff, Fauci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday.

“I’ve been in contact with Ron Klain,” Fauci said on Good Morning America. “Nothing substantive in the sense of plans, but just touching base with me, telling me that we’re going to be talking about this very soon now that the transition is in process.”

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday said that his department has also been in communication with Biden's transition team, following the General Services Administration's acknowledgement of Biden's win.

12:47 p.m. ET, November 25, 2020

Biden will deliver a Thanksgiving address today

From CNN's Sarah Mucha, Kate Sullivan and Christina Maxouris

President-elect Joe Biden holds a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 24.
President-elect Joe Biden holds a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 24. Mark Makela/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will deliver a "Thanksgiving address" Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.

He will "discuss the shared sacrifices Americans are making this holiday season and say that we can and will get through the current crisis together," according to a release from his transition team.

Biden's remarks comes as the country continues to battle surging Covid-19 cases and the Thanksgiving holiday has sparked fears that the virus will spread further across the country.

More than 2,100 Covid-19 deaths were reported in the US on Tuesday — making it the highest single day death toll the country has seen since early May.

And for the 15th consecutive day, the US beat its own hospitalization record, with now more than 88,000 Covid-19 patients nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last week that Americans do not travel for Thanksgiving, and the nation's top infectious disease doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, asked Americans to keep their indoor holiday gatherings as "small as you possibly can."